Ben Parker / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Students, faculty and community members gathered on Friday to create and edit Wikipedia entries of women in the arts at the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in Olin Library.

March 10, 2019

Cornell Celebrates International Women’s Day with Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

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With the hum of laptops and clack of fingers at the keyboard, students, faculty and community members gathered on Friday to create and edit Wikipedia entries of women in the arts, from botanists and scientific illustrators to poets and painters.

This “Edit-a-Thon” was part of an international campaign to improve coverage of female artists, writers and performers. Cornell participated in the movement by hosting the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon in Olin Library on International Women’s Day.

For the Art+Feminism movement, training new editors is essential. Only 10 percent of Wikipedia’s 40 million articles are created and edited by women, according to the campaign website.

“This is an effort that is part of a world-wide program to raise the visibility of female-identifying artists on Wikipedia and female-identifying people in the arts as well,” Brittany Rubin, co-organizer and Johnson Museum curator, told The Sun. “We try to bring in people who have not edited Wikipedia before.”

Three of the four organizers worked the Edit-a-Thon from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., helping newcomers create Wikipedia accounts and walking them through the editing process.

“I think no one here besides us three had edited Wikipedia before today,” Rubin said.

Organizers provided guides identifying women in the arts who were lacking online representation, and offered resources to help participants improve article content, add citations and give translations.

By the end of the event, participants had edited a total of 57 articles and begun 11 completely new ones.

First-time editor Alexa Saylan ’22 was drawn to the event’s “message of inclusivity, especially about editing women on different cultural backgrounds, different gender identities, etc.”

Saylan worked on translating an article from Spanish to English.

“Highlighting the art of women across Latin America is really cool to me, and a personal thing for me too because my mom is from Chile,” Saylan told The Sun. “It helps me feel a little bit closer to my Spanish-speaking heritage.”

Newbury has edited Wikipedia for 11 years now, and has worked with the Cornell Art+Feminism movement since it came to campus four years ago.

“We’re so used to being consumers of information on Wikipedia, and we are all scholars of information at Cornell, so it’s easy to apply our skills to improving knowledge for everyone,” she said.

The global Art+Feminism Edit-a-Thon runs for the entire month of March, with edits being counted through March 31.

Resources for editing remotely can be accessed through the Cornell Library website.